Spectator Spotlight: Jennifer Brown
Hayden Daniel ('19)-
On Sunday February 4th, the W&L Spectator sat down and spoke with Jennifer Brown, who is running to be Chair of the 6th District Republican Committee. We met for brunch at Southern Inn and engaged in a fascinating conversation about the politics of the 6th District.
Ms. Brown’s primary concerns for Republicans in the 6th District are disunity and the lack of outreach to younger generations. According to Ms. Brown, the greatest stumbling block to Republicans in the 6th District and around the nation is a lack of harmony within the party. She said, “We need to have harmony - we need to have unity in order to achieve the common good…As long as we are fighting our own, we will not succeed.” She cited the recent division of the Republican vote in the race for the governorship of Virginia, in which there was considerable infighting between those who supported the eventual Republican nominee Ed Gillespie and those who supported his principal primary challenger Corey Stewart, as a critical failure on the part of Republicans that allowed Democrat Ralph Northam to become the 73rd Governor of Virginia. She implores Republicans who may disagree on one or two points of minor policy to put aside their differences in those areas to work on issues that can be universally agreed upon.
Ms. Brown also remarked that the lack of outreach to younger voters seriously hampers the Republican Party’s ability to win elections. She cited Barack Obama’s successful use of social media in the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns as a model for Republicans to follow in the future in order to capture a larger share of the younger vote. “We are going to lose our youth,” Ms. Brown warned. She also drew a negative comparison to Democrats on the subject of party unity. “When we circle the firing squad, the Democrats circle the wagons.” Ms. Brown emphasized that social media and the involvement of youth organizations such as the College Republicans were pivotal to getting the conservative message out to younger people.
Ms. Brown also had some advice to impart to College Republicans and other student organizations. On top of creating a social media presence, Ms. Brown recommended that conservative organizations make a physical impact on their community by holding events and campaigning for Republican candidates door-to-door. She recognizes that many college students do not have a copious amount of time to devote to an organization like the College Republicans and that classes and graduation come first, but she encouraged students to, “Get involved. No matter how great or small the amount of time is.”
Ms. Brown has followed her own advice. She is very active on social media in an attempt to reach voters and educate them about the 6th District’s Convention system, in which voters must register as a delegate and vote in-person at the convention as opposed to the open primary system. She has also met with many conservative organizations at colleges and universities throughout the 6th District, the Spectator included.
Ms. Brown is running against Scott Sayre, the current Chair of the 6th District Republican Committee.